The best damn haircut you'll ever get.
I've been here almost two months and not a day goes by that something else don't discover something new. Its a great way to fight off boredom. A lot of things appear really strange to me. Sometimes its the well dressed business man peeing by the bushes. Other times its the pick up trucks stacked three times their height with plastic bottles. But undoubtedly the thing that entertained me most was just outside my apartment.
There is an idea here in China that positive behavior will lead t positive outcome. Sure that's the case in most cultures right? But the Chinese take it to a new level. Especially their hairdressers. They believe that physical exercise, or dancing if that's what you'll call it, will create a better working environment. I was told that it encourages hard work and happiness in the work place. I guess it makes sens on paper. But we Westerners will do it on our own time or even after work. We certainly don't bring our colleagues into exercise schedule if we don't have to. And definitely not all of them!
Just like the egg rolls from home, the Chinese do it differently. I stepped outside my apartment at about 9 am to wait for the bus. I had a few minutes, so I walked to the nearest convenient store for a snack. I was awestruck by the scene when I turned the bend. There was two single file rows of hairdressers, men and women, facing their store dancing to music. They were dancing in sync! An instructor (I'm assuming they take turns instructing because ive seen other people leading since then) lead the way on the entrance step of the salon. The music blasted and these hairstylists were going at it! Arms to the left, arms to right, shuffle forward, now back! "do it again."
In all of my adult life Ive never been so caught off guard by something. My hunger for breakfast was quickly replaced with curiosity and entertainment. I genuinely had a really good laugh to myself there. But no one seemed to laugh with me. Passer-byers seem to just glance over and continue about their day. They've probably seen this many times before. Not me. I had to take this in.
About ten minutes later they finished their routine. They congratulated one another all with a high five and what might be equivalent of our chest bump. I mean it was the complete opposite of everything we do. Its like having gym class first period. You put your deodorant on, you do your hair, get dressed up and then go get sweaty. A friend of mine told me that they don't exercise enough to sweat but i couldn't imagine any of the girls make-up and hair withstanding that heat and movement.
This wouldn't be the last surprise the hair stylist brought me. Usually when I return at night they are closing up their shop. The manager, a tall man with a high hairline and a mustache who usually dresses in a suit or vest of some sort, has a few words with his staff. Again they line up in two single files. The manger walks up and down between the rows speaking to them as if they are catering staff about to serve the president of the country. I believe this is when he goes over the things that were successful that day, or whether operations within the work place need to change. They all seem to be obediently paying attention to his thoughts. But if that's not enough for you to really get a kick out of it the Chinese hair stylist lifestyle, then maybe how they clean up will. The store blasts Soviet sounding music as they clean. In a combination of drums and trumpets, a seemingly never ending climax of communist music will play as they wash the windows and clean the floors. These jobs are taken seriously . Though I have a hard time not staring in amazement, the workers do this day in and day out. I just wonder if this idea is reflected in any other working environments. do employees at KFC, or Yoshinoya do this at the start of their shift? What about office workers? Actually, I think it might be best for people who sit behind a computer all day to do this. Studies have shown that after a small vacation, worker productivity increases. What about a small break from the laptop? After all, promoting some sort of physical exercise and movement in the morning is a good thing. We are all reluctant to work out as it is. What if we had to? This single motivator might help us life a happier and healthier lifestyle. But I don't see this catching on anytime in the next global era..